It’s been a while since I’ve written or up-dated my blog, sorry folks.
I left off when we were on our way to the Gili Meno (Lombok) from Candidasa (Bali). We had some health issues while we were in Candidasa and on Gili Meno. The day before we left David & I went to the pharmacy to get something for David’s stomach and something for my bug bites (me and my stupid allergies to bug bits). It’s a typical thing you do if you know what’s wrong and just need medication, go to the pharmacist. The girl at the pharmacy wouldn’t give any medication and told us to go to the clinic. She said because David had a slight fever and my bug bites didn’t itch, we needed to go to the clinic.
When we got to the 24 hour clinic we were taken in right away even though there was a waiting room full of people waiting to see the Doctor. They took David’s temperature and ushered us into a private room. We walked passed the common room with patients laying on beds with IV’s with about 10 or 12 beds in this room. Our room had 2 beds. They put David on an IV drip and took a blood and stool sample.
Red flags had been going up right from the pharmacy saying to go to the clinic. But you’re in a strange country and don’t know the ropes. The long and short of it is David had 2 bottles of IV, which wouldn’t hurt him and we spent the day at the clinic. The Doctor issued antibiotics for both of us. David’s blood and stool sample showed he had amoebas and bacteria in his system and had a mild case food poisoning. We were out of there with a bill of $350. I guess the private air conditioned room was a bonus since we were there all day.
Now was this necessary or was this a money grab? David was likely dehydrated and the IV was good for him but in all seriousness I think we got fleeced.
Unfortunately our health issues didn’t end there. David developed a boil on his upper leg and it turned quickly into a large abscess. So off we go to the clinic on Gili Meno. It got pretty ugly with them trying to drain it and not have any freezing or pain killers. This went on for a few days and then we decided to get a second opinion from a different clinic. The Doctor at the second clinic told us it would have to be lanced and he could do it there. They had freezing and pain killers. I know…why would one have freezing and pain killers and the other one not….we don’t know. I’m happy to say that David has healed and that is behind us.
We were on Gili Meno for 3 weeks and because of some health issues we didn’t enjoy it as much as we could have. I developed what they call “swimmers rash” after a couple of days of swimming. I had never had of “swimmers rash” before and have since found out you can get this anywhere. Once again lucky me and my allergy to bug bits. Health wise we had our problems but the island itself had a certain beauty about it.
It gets even better…..on top of this we had booked and paid for a bungalow for 2 weeks. We knew it was in the centre of the island and the mosque was close. We also knew it was Ramadan and the island was mainly Muslim. We didn’t think too much about it because we’ve traveling in the Middle East during Ramadan before and enjoyed the chanting from the mosques. Well, the chanting from the mosque on Gili Meno was anything but pleasant. It was more screeching then chanting that went on for hours during the day and night. Plus their sound system snapped and crackled making it even harder to listen too. Not a lot of sleep to be had there. I wrote an email to my brother Tom about the screeching and bad sound system he replied, “I had hardened my heart.” He reminded me that in Turkey they have competitions for the mosque with the best chanting and maybe the losers end up on Gili Meno. It’s a good possibility the screeches got shipped out and ended up there. After the 2 weeks we did move over to the beach area and enjoyed our last week.
Sometimes travelling can be a hassle with health problems and being in the right place at the wrong time. We went to the Gili Islands thinking it was paradise because of what we read. We read the beaches were unspoiled, they didn’t use any plastic (as in water bottles) on the islands, beautiful coral just of the shore and the paradise list goes on. This is all true if you had gone 10 years earlier.
Now the beaches are susceptible to the tides. When we first got there there was hardly any beach at all as the tide changed over the next 3 weeks the beaches changed. At some points the beaches were wide and beautiful to walk on. At other times there was hardly a beach. The storms have washed white coral up on the beaches making some areas hard to walk on unless you have foot protection like water shoes. The locals told us it has been like this for 10 years now and with all our research not once had anybody mentioned the deterioration of the beaches. Globe warming has not been kind to the Gili islands. During the 3 weeks we were there we saw some beach restaurants being destroyed by the ocean.
We did find a couple of smallish beaches that were nice to pass the day on. On a whole we found the people, Sasak tribe of Longbok, to be less friendly then the people of Bali or Java. The locals were stand-offish and more to themselves. We find that the children are usually friendly and yell “Hello” but that didn’t happen very much. We did find a family that had a restaurant and were very friendly and so we hung-out there. It was on the nicest beach. A few restaurants from there the guys call David “Justin Bieber” because we were from Canada. But on a the whole the locals weren’t a friendly lot. Some evenings the sunsets were magical and tourists would come from all over the island to watch the sunset.
As you can see in the pictures the island is beautiful and in it’s own way has a paradise feeling to it. But the garbage has gotten out of control and the water is polluted. The accommodations aren’t very good and they are expensive compared to Bali and the food was horrible. But the boat rides to and back from the Gili’s were beautiful with views of the volcanoes of both Bali and Lombok. Another very nice thing was there wasn’t any motorized vehicles. The taxis were horse and cart. It’s a different world calling your taxis (horse & cart) on your cell phone.
One funny story to end with. We went back to this restaurant we had been to the day before. David said to the waiter,”where are all the people? We where here yesterday and there were a lot of people.” The waiter thinks and cocks his head to one side and says very thoughtfully, “Well sir…..they are all gone….now. Well sir…..they are all gone….now.” and turns and walks away.